The Real “I Am Rich?” Programmer Gets Out Of Debt With Hit iPhone App

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It's like something out of Horatio Alger: a computer programmer, drowning in debt from medical bills and in danger of having to sell his home, quickly cobbles together an iPhone app.  The program becomes so successful that, not only does he erase his debt, he tells his day job to shove it.

That's what happened to Ethan Nicholas, a Sun Microsystems coder whose tank-battle game iShoot rocketed to the top of the App Store charts and netted him a cool US$700K. 

To help drive sales of the US$2.99, Nicholas also released a free "lite" edition, which topped the free-app charts as well.  He also counted on the impulse-buying tendencies of iPhone users to take a chance on a relatively inexpensive game.

Now he's a stay-at-home dad, has founded his own coding company (the cleverly-named "Naughty Bits"), and is planning more apps, including iShoot 2.0. 

But Nicholas' pay-plus-free-version strategy may prove to be a fluke: as we previously reported, the vast majority of free apps see rapidly-dropping usage after the initial novelty wears off.

[Via The News and Observer]

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